It's getting close to being an entire year since we’ve heard anything about Channing Tatum’s comic book adaptation of The Maxx. For those who don’t know, The Maxx is a surreal story written and illustrated by Sam Kieth about a homeless man who exists in two worlds—one in his head (maybe), which is a land called the Outback, and the other being the real world, where he lives in a cardboard box. There was an MTV cartoon back in the ‘90s that ran for 13 episodes, as well as the comic book series itself, which ran for a total of 35 issues. There was also a side-story called Friends of Maxx, which ran for three issues and didn’t even include The Maxx in it. Because, well, the series is weird.
But that’s why I love it! Some people have Batman, while others have Spider-Man. But my favorite comic book character of all time (Outside of Moon Knight) has always been The Maxx. But The Maxx is super obscure, and even though he recently had a team-up with Batman in a series called “Arkham Dreams,” it still just baffles me that a megastar like Channing Tatum (who I know was supposed to be Gambit, but still!) would want to produce a project like The Maxx. But since he does, and while we wait to hear word on the status of the project, I thought I would fill you in on some of the coolest aspects of the cult classic character. And maybe then you can learn that he can be a hero! Oh, and just a heads up, some major spoilers for a comic book that is over 20 years old up ahead.
The Maxx’s Relationship With Julie Winters Is Complicated
Julie Winters is a social worker who sometimes helps The Maxx by letting him stay at her apartment and bailing him out of jail. The Maxx, in turn, often finds himself journeying to the Outback (AKA, Pangea) where he protects Julie, who is the Jungle Queen in that world. But we find out later in the series that Julie actually hit a homeless man named Dave with her car, and that Mr. Gone (more on him in a few) magically charged garbage from the Outback that Julie unintentionally threw on Dave to hide the body. And this turned him into The Maxx. Yes. I told you the story was weird.
Now, there’s a lot more to it, but here’s the thing. I definitely do not want this to be The Maxx’s origin story in the movie. We actually don’t find this information out until issue #10, so for 9 whole issues, we really have no idea who this man in purple spandex is, and why he keeps journeying into the Outback. And I think it’s better that way, don’t you? The mystery is part of the appeal.
The Maxx’s Main Antagonist Is A Serial Rapist Named Mr. Gone
Mr. Gone, like The Maxx and Julie, exists both in this world and in the Outback. In the Outback, he’s a powerful magician who has a legion of these white creatures called The Isz. But in our world, the Isz turn black and are more ferocious. Mr. Gone is also a serial rapist in our world. He kidnaps Julie, but she eventually cuts his head off and escapes, and the Isz have to find his decapitated head.
Mr. Gone changes dramatically throughout the series. We learn that Julie actually knew Mr. Gone when she was a child, and that she even used to call him Uncle Artie. “Uncle Artie” would tell her stories about the Outback, which she would shape in her head to become a place to mentally escape to when she’s older. But Mr. Gone ultimately detests the man he was and tries to seek forgiveness, most notably through his daughter, Sarah. I personally think that the movie should definitely focus on Mr. Gone since he’s a complex character. And if I had my choice, then Ben Kingsley would portray him. A guy can dream, can’t he?
Spirit Animals Play a Huge Role in the Story
One aspect that comes much later in the story when we meet with Mr. Gone’s daughter, Sarah, is spirit animals. These are connections that all people have that allow them to learn more about themselves and the world around them. For example, Julie’s spirit animal is a rabbit, and this is because she once had a pet rabbit that was run over by a car, and her mother had to kill it to put it out of its misery. But this event left a massive impression on Julie’s life that followed her into adulthood. Sarah’s spirit animal is a horse, but it isn’t made entirely clear why.
I think the aspect of spirit animals would be awesome in the movie, though I’m struggling to figure out how this can be implemented without making story too weird, since… well, I’ll just save that for the next entry.
The Maxx Fears That He’s A Rabbit Underneath His Costume
I just mentioned the rabbit that Julie’s mother killed to put it out of its misery. Well, that event really shaped Julie’s childhood, and she brought that memory into her adult life. When she takes care of Dave (The Maxx), she projects that memory of the rabbit on him, and in that way, Dave is worried that if he takes off his mask, he’ll find that he’s a giant rabbit underneath it. Gambit, this isn't.
I would LOVE if this was a subplot in the movie, because oh my God. What other comic book film can you think of that covers emotional trauma and repressed memories in such a surreal and creative way? The story of The Maxx really shaped me as a child since I read it at a very impressionable age, and I really think stuff like this would blow people’s minds today. This subplot could really be played up in the movie. The paranoia would be fantastic. It would be like something out of a Cronenberg picture. And I just thought of something. Can we get David Cronenberg to direct this movie? Pretty please.
The Maxx Is Really A Story About Two Women
Julie is the character most fans of the MTV show in the ‘90s are probably familiar with, but Sarah (or Sara) plays a massive role much later in the series as well. You see, Sarah also has her own “Maxx” in a homeless man named Norbert, and she needs him because there’s a giant yellow slug named Iago that is hunting her down. The slug actually gets to Julie and eats off some of her fingers. And Mr. Gone and the original Maxx, Dave, have to rescue Sarah, even though she's forming powers of her own, just like her father.
I highly doubt that a story as weird as The Maxx would ever get a sequel, but I would love if all of this Sarah stuff was saved for if there actually was a sequel. I definitely don’t want to see any hints of Iago in the film because the series just goes completely bonkers later, and I’m not sure that one movie could handle all of that insanity.
And those are just 5 things that people should know about The Maxx if a movie ever comes out. The number 1 thing people should know though is that it’s weird. Really, really weird. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.
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